Leadership, Advocacy and Service: The Voices of SAAC
The student-athletes who will represent Arizona Athletics on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in 2020-21 tell you their own stories of why they serve and the mission of this important organization. George Arias Jr. is a pitcher for Arizona Baseball whose father is a former Arizona and MLB standout.
For most of the members of SAAC, they applied for the position. Me on the other hand, this was not the case. I had never ever heard of SAAC before coming to college. I remember one day during my sophomore year, I got a text from my coach saying that I will be representing baseball on SAAC. My first initial thoughts were, "What am I getting myself into and what was SAAC"? Fast-forward to now, I am proud to say that I am serving my second year as a SAAC member and I have enjoyed every second of it.
Those who were like me, not knowing what SAAC is, it stands for Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. A representative from each sport, all with different backgrounds and ideas meet twice a month to discuss on how we, as the voice for our student-athletes, can make the experience better and find ways to relay information from administration to the rest of our teams. Within SAAC, there are four subcommittees, each with their own responsibilities and end goals. I am currently apart of the leadership and development subcommittee and it is our goal to develop our student-athletes for the work force for when their time competing comes to an end. Whether this is helping athletes develop professional resumes, or do's and don't's of interview, we vary in all kind of different work skills.
Why SAAC is important to me? To me, this is a simple answer. It has been known that baseball hasn't been represented as well as it could be within SAAC as compared to other sports, so I make it one of my goals is to make baseball be more active in stuff like this. Even if the task at hand seems so simple, but to us as a team, means everything to us. I also personally enjoy being on SAAC because it gives me a better understanding on how things work behind the scenes, which is something that I normally wouldn't know if I wasn't on the board. It allows me to be able to bounce off ideas or concerns that some students may have and obtain feedback on how to handle situations that I normally would not be able to come up with on my own. Just the thought of knowing that I can have a voice and it being heard by the administration is something neat, and I don't think you'll see anywhere else.
One of my most memorable moments while being on SAAC was actually one of my first days of being on SAAC. I met our athletics director, Dave Heeke, that day and I remember our conversation was about baseball. He had told me that his son was playing at Central Michigan who we actually got to face this past season, which I thought was pretty cool because Dave is an avid baseball fan.
I think the biggest takeaway while being on SAAC is that people look up to us. Since Tucson really has no professional teams here, Arizona is basically the talk of the town.I find that to be cool. That means we should use our platform as athletes to help promote and address issues that affect us a whole, no matter how big or minor they may be. The only way to do that is to speak up and let your voice be heard, do not be afraid to say your opinions or aspirations!